March 14, 2011
Anyone Can Teach Business Associations
Anyone can teach business associations. That’s the message I have heard from several faculty members, including members of our appointments committee, over the years.
In a literal sense, I suppose the statement’s true. It wouldn’t be good for the students or the school, but anyone can teach anything. I could teach nuclear physics. But, in a more realistic sense, it’s nonsense.
Business Associations involves at least four different business entities—the general partnership, the corporation, the limited partnership, and the limited liability company—and that’s not counting sole proprietorships, limited liability partnerships, and limited liability limited partnerships. My course covers some or all of eight different state statutes or uniform acts, plus agency law and the federal Securities Act and Exchange Act. And the law affecting every one of these business entities involves a complicated mix of common law and statutory law, mandatory and default rules, regulation and contract.
In addition, anyone teaching Business Associations must understand, and be able to teach, selected principles from finance and accounting—not to mention some of the basic economic concepts that form the backdrop for the study of business associations.
Sure, Business Associations may not be as deeply complicated as Securities Regulation or Corporate Taxation, but those subjects at least have the advantage of a single focus with, for the most part, a single statute.
In short, contrary to the opinion of some, Business Associations is not a course that anyone can step in and teach successfully. But enough on this subject; I’m off to teach my nuclear physics class.
March 14, 2011 | Permalink
One of the issues within the academy is that Business Associations is not deemed to be scholarly enough to be worthy of being taught by an academic. One of the results is law graduates with little understanding of the world they had hoped would employ them.
As the attorney job market continues in meltdown, some will get the message.
BWB (30 years of practice before being qualified to understand and teach BA, BE or corporations)
Posted by: Bruce W. Bean | Mar 15, 2011 5:17:56 AM
At most schools, BA is taught by an academic. The problem I'm addressing is the belief that any academic can teach it, even if they come to the course with no background in the area.
Posted by: Steve Bradford | Mar 15, 2011 6:49:03 AM